By Capt. Mike Manis
For many, this could simply be an extension of May. If the tarpon are abundant, it’s difficult not to fish them. To be expected, the tarpon do draw a crowd; it’s just part of the experience. On the other hand, it does open up lots of shoreline in the backcountry and on more than one occasion I’ve found myself taking advantage of this newfound tranquility.
Snook will be all over the beaches. However, there will still be snook inside. Particularly around deep cuts and tidal creeks. Turtle Bay and around Cape Haze to the southern end of the West Wall as well as along the east side around Big Dead Creek and Buzzard Bay north of Matlacha are some of my favorite areas.
Redfish will be in the bushes, mangroves, in just about all the bays and sounds that surround the harbor. As the water temperature heats up, I like looking in areas adjacent to the intracoastal. The cooler oxygenated water coming in from the Gulf helps provide good healthy habitat. In addition, the intracoastal covers lots of ground with good shoreline from Stump Pass in Lemon Bay to Captiva Pass in Pine Island Sound.
The northern end of Pine Island Sound between Cabbage Key, Useppa and Mondongo Island is one of my favorite zones. A bit further north, the flats adjacent to Stump pass can be really good. This includes both sides of the intracoastal running both north and south.
Sharks are abundant and soaking a piece of cut bait anywhere near the Cape Haze artificial reef has a chance of getting picked up. Cobia are in the upper harbor at the mouth of the Myakka River. Big Jack crevalle are also moving up and down the drop off outside the West Wall. In many cases, they can be seen pushing water at the bar’s edge. In both cases, the cobia and jacks, just about any bait placed where they can see it should get eaten.
Taking all this into consideration, I’d still like to try and find some time to explore a few tidal creeks looking for baby tarpon. In some cases, these fish don’t see a lot of pressure and are a lot of fun on fly. Placida and Lemon Bay have some good systems. In addition, the creek and canal systems around Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte have potential.
Until next month, good tides.
Captain Michael Manis is a U.S.G.C. Licensed captain and has been teaching the sport of fly and light tackle angling since 2002. He lives in Punta Gorda, Florida and can be reached at www.puntagordaflycharters.com.